Some state and private schools in Vientiane have announced that they will raise their prices for the new academic year set to commence.
For example, some state secondary schools in rural areas have increased their school fees from 150,000 kip per person per annum last year to 170,000 kip per person per annum this year.
Meanwhile, some private primary schools in urban areas have increased their tuition fees from 900,000 kip per student per month last year to 1 million kip per student per month this year.
Some state schools justified their fee increases by saying they need to upgrade school infrastructure and facilities and some of the private schools also cited similar reasons.
However the fee increases by state schools were very modest in comparison to the fee hikes by the private schools.
State school fees, especially in rural areas, remain cheap because education officials are aiming to increase school attendance rates as well as reduce the financial burden on students’ parents.
In rural areas of Vientiane, some state primary schools charge only 80,000 kip per student per year while state secondary schools charge from between 150,000 kip-170,000 kip per student per year.
In Vientiane urban areas, state primary and secondary schools charge higher rates than in rural areas but most of their fees are still below 400,000 kip per student per annum.
For private schools in and around Vientiane, lower secondary school fees vary greatly, from a lower limit of around 200,000 kip per student per month to a height of up to 4 million kip per student per month at the most exclusive schools.
According to an official from the Ministry of Education and Sports, the school fees charged by both state and private schools are not set by the ministry.
Rather it depends on the authorities at the respective schools to determine the fee rates according to the state of their infrastructure and facilities.
All of the school fees received must be used for the administration of the school, including upgrades, maintenance and running costs including utilities such as water and electricity.
The Ministry of Education and Sports offers advice to school administrators and asks officials at state and private schools to set their fees at reasonable levels in accordance with the standard of their facilities.
Some state schools also have support policies for the children of poor families, who may be eligible for scholarships to assist with the costs associated with their education, officials said.
Source: Vientiane Times